The coronavirus pandemic has been a nightmare for many, with several businesses forced to close and people out of work.
But for 58-year-old cobbler Andrew “Quick Fix” Campo, who plies his trade on the streets of San Fernando, it has been a blessing in disguise.
Somehow, amid the pandemic's challenges, his sales have increased. From the lockdown in March to now, he managed to secure enough funds and upgrade from a sheet of ply board to a mobile cart.
“I started on the ground, but the business is slowly coming off the ground. It is hard doing this on the roadside. But I love it,” Campo said.
“I love meeting people and saving heels and ankles. My dream is to have a little space where customers can come in and sit comfortably while having their quick fix.”
Instead, he said, out in the open his customers get wet and scorched by the sun. Passers-by also bounce into them while they wait for him to repair their shoes.
He acknowledged his business is small and faces competition. But, he told Business Day, the “real competition” is between himself and the relationships he aims to develop with passers-by.
Like a superhero, he is always ready to fix shoe problems. He is always on the look out for any shoe-like villains ready to cause distress, embarrassment or worse yet – injury to an unlucky foot.
“I look at people’s shoes when they are passing. Sometimes, I stop people to tell them if their shoes need to be fixed,” Campo said.
Campo has been operating at Mucurapo Street for the past 18 years. At present, his mobile cart is in front of Rydon’s Home Centre.
“I am very grateful for the kind gesture of the management of Rydon's Home Centre for not only granting me the space outside, but also for housing my materials,” Campo said.
“I know things are really hard and workers are being sent home. The last thing some businesses want is to have vending outside their establishments.”
When he is not working in San Fernando, he works with his brother, who is also a cobbler, at the corner of Woodford and Farfan Streets in Arima.
He credits his trade to his mentor and nurturer identified only as “Mr Roshford.”
Campo said, “He took time to point out every little error while teaching me about shoe repairs and tailoring.”
Mr Roshford enforced in him the notion that the only way to strive in business is by mastering the craft, and then, building relationships.
Providing quality service, then, while not underselling or overpricing, is what Campo believes will make him succeed.
Campo can be contacted at 272-1101.